Saturday, 21 April 2012

Saturday on Silver Street

On Saturdays, York becomes a melée of snotty children, middle-aged bleach-blonde ladies, and slobs in tracksuits, all firmly believing that buying yet another pair of planet-polluting, child-manufactured pair of shoes will bring them happiness, even though the previous 55 times failed. Be that as it may, one thing that many people will be doing today is using the public toilets in Silver Street. As mentioned in a previous update, it costs 40 pence to spend a penny. Here's what you get for your money:

Self-cleaning toilets are brilliant. Unfortunately, this one didn't work.
Also the lack of ventilation meant that the cubicle smelled. We will spare you pain by not telling you what of.

This toilet-roll holder is perfectly fine,
even though the bog roll is, obviously, horrendously bleached.

Hygeia wants to take a sledge-hammer to these contraptions.

As mentioned previously, NHS handwashing guidelines state:

An effective handwashing technique involves three stages: preparation, washing and rinsing, and drying. Preparation requires wetting hands under tepid running water before applying the recommended amount of liquid soap or an antimicrobial preparation. The handwash solution must come into contact with all of the surfaces of the hand. The hands must be rubbed together vigorously for a minimum of 10-15 seconds, paying particular attention to the tips of the fingers, the thumbs and the areas between the fingers. Hands should be rinsed thoroughly prior to drying with good quality paper towels. (Read more here.)

Handwashing facilities like the one above dispense soap first, then water, then air, and the user has no control over which order these elements appear in. Thus, we always end up using two separate ones: ignoring the soap, we wet our hands first, then move onto the next contraption for soap, and then water again for rinsing. We avoid the air from the air-dryer like the plague. (Read all about why air-dryers should be avoided like the plague here.)

Everything else may be dire, but this is bloody fabulous!
When the Silver Street toilets were last renovated, an irate reader wrote to The Press:

A costly call 
As a former York resident who returns from time to time to shop or visit family and friends, I recently discovered the new toilets in Silver Street. While they are an improvement in some ways, and I do not object to paying some charge for this service, I feel 40p was a bit steep, considering there was no hook to hang things from inside the cubicles (standard in most loos), which meant having to put my bag on a floor which was wet. To add insult to injury, the hot air dryer did not work properly so I ended up having to dry my hands on my scarf. (From The Press, 24 November 2010; read more here).

Luckily, this appalling state of affairs has been remedied - and with a vengeance, as you can see!

Although these toilets technically have a photo-cell tap, and although we are awarding a point for that, we are simultaneously deducting one point for the weird, unhygienic hand-washing facilities, and another point for the lack of ventilation, leading to the horrid smell. In total, we award 7 points.

Silver Street Toilets
Silver Street, York YO1 8RY

Related Reading
The Historic Toilet Tour of York
Public Toilets, Exhibition Square (St Leonard's Place), York
Venting Our Spleen (Right Down the Drain)
Sing If You're Glad to Be a Dane
A Note on Useful Gifts
Princely Bogs in Princes Street Gardens

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